Protection, Care and Cleaning of Fine Jewelry

"Lovely" Akoya Pearl Necklace by Kimberly Arpaia
"Lovely" by Kimberly Arpaia
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(especially strung pearls and strung precious and semiprecious gemstone jewelry)

Fine jewelry is like fine art.  Without riders, homeowner's policies typically provide little coverage.  Personal jewelry inusrance is available independent of a homeowner's policy to cover damage, loss and theft of jewelry.  A replacement policy might be the right choice for most jewelry (e.g., the insurance company repairs or replaces your insured jewelry with like kind and quality).  It is advisable for owners of rare expensive jewelry pieces to discuss options with their insurance company to determine if a cash policy might afford better coverage with respect to certain items (e.g., if a lost valuable is worth a certain amount, the insurer will issue a check for that amount).  A cash policy might be advisable in cases where a rare item is very difficult to replace with like kind.

Personal Jewelry Insurance Policies can prove beneficial for all valuable jewelry, and they can be especially beneficial for your more delicate designer jewelry and rare gemstone strands:
    - Some pearls and gemstones are rare and expensive.

   - Given the design, pearls and gemstones might look best without any knots inbetween, and so the designer may choose to string them that way.  If the strand breaks, all gems and other precious components on the strand could be potentially lost or damaged. 

    - A main cause of lost jewelry is a broken clasp or a clasp that was not properly closed or secured when put on. 

    - All gemstones can be damaged, even diamonds.  Gemstones can get marred, scratched, chipped and cracked from exposure to chemicals, high heat or trauma such as dropping, banging, rough handling or harsh treatment.  Even with proper care, mishaps occur. 



Keep Jewelry Separate and Protected.  Keep each piece of fine jewelry in the original gift box, a soft pouch, or in a separate soft-lined compartment.  Strands get tangled when lumped together, and commingling can scratch gemstones, pearls and precious metals.

To help keep your purchase looking pristine, Arpaia Fine Jewelry provides a firm gift box and soft microfiber cleaning cloth. 

Anti Tarnish Bags for Silver Jewelry.  Even if silver is tarnish resistant, we provide anti tarnish bags for pieces that contain silver and recommend their use.  However, we do not recommend closed plastic bags for any piece with pearls since their gorgeous luster requires moisture from air.  Pearls should be kept in a silk pouch away from other jewelry so they do not get scratched.

Travel.  Keep jewelry in your possession - not in luggage.  At the hotel or on ship, store jewelry in the room or hotel safe when not worn.

Home Safe.  To safeguard valuable jewelry against home theft, you may wish to consider investing in a safe, and there are many home safes available.  Some things to keep in mind in purchasing a home safe:

     - Good home safes are extremely heavy and need to be bolted to the floor from the inside (so that a thief cannot unbolt it from the outside).  Accordingly, it might be most practical for you to purchase a safe from a company that provides complete home delivery, installation and service.

      - Consider purchasing a safe with an alarm or have the safe wired to your home security system.

      - The safe should be heat, fire and drill resistant.

- If you desire a lighted safe, install a battery-operated LED.  Avoid purchasing an interior lighted safe since any connection to an electrical outlet is a possible fire hazard.

      - Do not store pearls, opals and any other stones that require moist air in a home safe or a safe deposit box.  These environments are too dry to maintain the luster and quality of these soft pourous gems.  A humidor-style safe is advisable for safekeeping these stones.  If a dry safe is the only safe place, keep the pearls near a cup of water in the safe and check frequently.

       - If you do not have a home safe, do not store jewelry in a bedroom dresser or jewelry case since these are obvious places a thief will search.  Keep jewelry in a secure lock box in an unlikely hiding place.


(a short primer on the do's and don'ts)

Do not wear fine jewelry to the beach.  Sand and saltwater can scratch and erode the finish and polish of gemstones and soft precious metals.

Do not expose jewelry to chemicals and do not wear swimming.  Chlorine, harsh detergents and other chemicals can erode the finish or cause worse damage.  Gemstones and Pearls can be ruined in a split second if exposed to chemicals or harsh cleaners.  Even gold can become brittle if exposed to small amounts of chlorine and bleach over time, causing breaks and loose prongs.

Do not wear fine jewelry in the shower or hot tub. 

Take extra precautions with fine jewelry if you enjoy an active lifestyle.  Do not wear fine jewelry while washing dishes, cleaning or doing other household chores such as making beds, making repairs, playing with children, gardening, sports and exercise, etc. 

Be careful not to catch or pull fine jewelry - it can break.  For example, when dancing, long strand jewelry can get pulled and break.  If jewelry catches on clothing, a snag can tear the cloth and break the jewelry.  Hair is strong and can break jewelry when tangled.  Rings and bracelets can break from digging around in a deep handbag, drawer or file cabinet.

Put jewelry on after dressing, and only on clean dry skin.  Soap, makeup, powder, hair spray, perfumes, body lotions and oils can dull or cause worse damage to gemstones and pearls.  Over time, even body oils and perspiration can erode fine jewelry.

To avoid lost earrings, wear stoppers on earring wires and the backs that come with earposts.  If you lose earring backs, purchase a suitable replacement from the place of purchase or at your local jewelry store - do not use an ill fitting back.

Make sure the clasp is securely put on.  Unsecured or improperly attached clasps are a major cause of lost jewelry.  With respect to strung jewerly, make sure to only hold the clasp ends when putting on and closing the clasp.  A delicate part of strung pieces is the french wire covering the stringing wire at each end of the clasp.  The french wire protects the wire, but it can look messy and even fray if rubbed.  Accordingly, care should be taken to avoid handling/touching the french wire on strung

Do not leave jewelry sitting on sinks, tables or countertops.  Jewelry can disappear or be forgotten if not stored in its proper place.  Rings are often lost when they are taken off to wash hands or do dishes, etc. 


Annual Professional Cleaning.  Fine jewelry should be professionally cleaned once a year.  At that time, the jeweler can examine the piece for signs of wear to be repaired, such as loose stones, bent prongs or stressed strands.

Never use Abrasives to clean jewelry, not even toothpaste.

Strong White Diamond Jewelry.  Strong, white diamond engagement rings and similar set white diamond jewelry look dull if not periodically cleaned.  Soak for 10 minutes in one part ammonia and one part warm water.  Remove debris with a soft toothbrush.  Rinse with running warm water.  Pat dry with a clean soft microfiber cloth.   

Colored Diamonds and Gemstones. Do not use heat, steam or ultrasonic cleaners.  Do not use cleaning solutions.  Though some colored gemstones can withstand these cleaning methods, many will be harmed.  As a general rule, you should gently clean colored diamonds and gemstones with a chemical-free, lint-free micro fiber cloth that is safe for all gemstones.  We provide one with each purchase and it is machine washable.  After each wearing, gently wipe jewelry with a dry or slightly damp cloth to remove fingerprints and oily residue.

Overtime, if you find colored gemstones looking dull, they may be cleaned with cool water and mild soap.  Dirt may be removed by gently using a soft toothbrush.  Rinse with cool water and gently pat dry with a clean microfiber cloth.  Caveats:  Do not wet clean pieces with rose-cut white diamonds or oxidized metals such as blackened silver or gold.

Oxidized Jewelry.  Wet cleaning oxidized jewelry can remove the black finish since it often is not permanent (which is why a quick dip in silver cleaner can remove the oxidized finish completely, leaving the piece looking like plain silver).  The oxidized look can lessen over time even with proper care and normal wear.  We recommend that you clean oxidized jewelry gently with a soft microfiber cloth, concentrating mostly on cleaning the gemstones while trying not to touch the oxidized metal to prevent hastening the wear of the oxidized finish.

Rose-cut White Diamonds and other foil-backed gemstones.  DO NOT GET WET!!!  Rose cut white diamonds (diamonds in the normal color range) are often set in a fine silver lining or actually backed with fine silver (foilback) before set to enhance the brilliance and beauty of the stones.  Accordingly, do not get these pieces wet even when cleaning.  Otherwise, the silver linings could erode and ruin the piece.  Use only a clean dry microfiber cloth.  If you have a piece of jewelry professionally cleaned that contains rose cut diamonds lined with silver, be sure to warn the jeweler that it should not get wet.  This caution applies to all other foilbacked gemstones.

Pearls.  After each wear, pearls should be cleaned only with a damp or dry clean, soft, chemical-free microfiber cloth.  If pearls need a more thorough cleaning, use mild soap and cool water, rinse thoroughy and dry with microfiber cloth.  Never subject pearls to hot water or heat.

Tarnish Removal.  Many tarnish removal methods are too harsh for fine jewelry.  Silver dips can harm finishes; even a split second dip in tarnish remover can harm some gemstones and ruin the luster of pearls.   It is safest to periodically bring your fine jewelry to your local jeweler for professional cleaning or contact the manufacturer/designer for specific cleaning instructions.   With respect to your Arpaia Fine Jewelry, please call 203-772-3632 to discuss any cleaning questions and to obtain specific cleaning instructions for tarnish removal.


If you wear strung pieces several times a week, it is advisable to have them restrung once a year to prevent breakage. 

Regularly check your strung jewelry to see if it looks slack, frayed or compromised in any way.  Diamond necklaces are often strung without knots.  Diamond drill holes tend to be extremely small (since they are sold by the carat weight), and require stringing on very fine thread, wire or nylon.  Accordingly, it is important to have these pieces restrung if they've been roughly pulled or caught, or no longer look secure or perfectly attached to the clasp. 

Sometimes strung jewelry will break right away from a strong catch or pull.  Oftentimes, however, the breakage occurs later on, at a time when the piece seems to break for no apparent reason.  The injury actually occurred at the time of trauma but it took awhile for the stress point to break completely through.

We recommend that your Arpaia Fine Jewelry be cleaned, restrung or repaired by Arpaia Fine Jewelry.  Service charges are based on labor and materials.  We will provide an estimate for your approval prior to beginning any work.